What's in my bag? Interview edition

What’s in my bag? Interview edition

Now that I’m nicely settled into my new role as a Medical Writer (and couldn’t be happier!) I thought I’d share some tips and tricks that I picked up along the way about finding a job outside of academia (or anywhere!) and how to ace your dream job when you get there! This post is an interview edition of the classic ‘What’s in my bag?’ blog post featuring my new Marc Jacobs, with some handy hints on how to be prepared for that big interview.


So you’ve made it as far as an interview; congratulations! You must have done something right to catch your potential employers attention, either through a knock-out phone interview or a kick-ass CV! Your foot is well and truly in the door, but the big hurdle to overcome next is the interview…

First impressions count, and for me the most important thing is being prepared for whatever they might throw at you. Leading up to the interview I’m sure you’ve done all the prep you can do, and at the end of the day, you know about your own past experiences better than anyone else; let your passion for the job shine through and I’m sure you’ll smash it! Whilst all the knowledge you need is in your own head, I find it helps to make sure I’m organised before the day so that I have everything I could possibly need. Here was what was in my bag throughout my interview process…



For writing any notes that you need to make throughout the day, especially if you are attending an assessment day where you might face group or individual tasks where it may help to have somewhere to jot down notes. Also handy to make notes about the company or interviewers to look over on your journey there. Make sure you write down the questions that you want to ask your potential employers too, because you WILL forget them when you’re in the room!


Pencil case

Obviously if you’re taking a notebook, you take at least one pen too (I would hope!) but make sure said pens are in a little pencil case, because nothing will throw you off your game like discovering that your pen has inked all over the silk lining of your favourite designer handbag, minutes before you walk into your interview. My little red one pictured is only big enough for a few pens but is perfect for any handbag.



Nothing makes me feel more organised that carrying my trusty Filofax planner around with me. Handy for if you need to let them know when you’re free to start or record any prior commitments etc.


Spare CV

You’ll want to look over your CV en route to your interview and it’s always handy to keep a spare with you on the day.


Neutral makeup

I prefer to go neutral with my makeup for an interview day; I even wore a muted red toned lipstick, instead of my usual crimson! Take a little makeup bag with you with powder to freshen up when you get there and a concealer stick to cover any break-out emergencies!


Hair pins/bobbles

Especially important if, like me, you have unruly hair, and it looks like it might rain. You don’t want to get caught out and have to spend the day looking like a scarecrow! If necessary, tie it back, you want to make a tidy and professional first impression, even if you have to improvise a bit.


Purse including travel tickets

Very important! Make sure you can get there in plenty of time, you can always buy yourself a coffee close-by if you’re too early! Keep any receipts too if the company has offered to reimburse any travel costs.


I like to carry a larger handbag around with me, and this Marc Jacobs Recruit East-West tote in ‘Chianti’ colour (past season colour, but same style available this season) is perfect for working life and interviews, as it has plenty of space for all the essentials, looks stylish and professional on the day but is great on the weekends too. I picked this beauty up in the Harvey Nichols sale for an absolute steal (see my previous post on tips for getting a designer wardrobe for less) and I just know it will be my go-to for many years to come!

So there you have it! You’ve done you’re prep, you have everything with you that you will need for your big day, so go get ’em!

What do you take with you for a big interview? Let me know in the comments below!